Inspections performed in the wake of last summer's deadly balcony collapse near the University of California, Berkeley revealed more than 400 buildings with balconies, stairways, decks and landings in need of repair, according to a city report released Wednesday afternoon.
Six students were killed — including five from Ireland and one from Rohnert Park — and seven others were injured June 16 when a balcony broke off a downtown Berkeley apartment building during a woman’s 21st birthday celebration.
Wednesday's report notes that Berkeley wanted to respond "swiftly following the tragic collapse of the 4th floor balcony" at 2020 Kittredge Street, known as the Library Gardens apartments, and develop code amendments to "reduce the likelihood that a catastrophic collapse" could occur again.
Problems ran the gamut from minor water intrusion to major leaks, according to the report. The city had 2,200 such buildings with "weather-exposed elements," and inspectors found that 402 needed fixes. The story was first reported by Berkleyside.
Property owners were given 90 days to make the fixes and city spokesman Matthai Chakko said "most" had been completed.
The city council in July required the inspection of all weather-exposed exterior elements in properties with at least three units and ordered that subsequent inspections take place every three years.
Berkeley also stiffened requirements for building materials and venting in order to make inspections easier to conduct and improve airflow to elements that could be impacted by water damage and other problems.
City staff sent out nearly 6,090 letters to property owners of multi-family buildings to inform them of the new inspection rules. The city received responses to about 4,400, or 72 percent of the letters that were sent, the report notes.
The Alameda County district attorney launched a criminal investigation last year into the cause of the balcony collapse. The DA’s office has not released any information about the probe since its initial announcement in June.
Teresa Drenick, spokeswoman for the office, confirmed Wednesday to Berkeleyside that the investigation is ongoing.